Tag Archives: almsgiving



It is especially when I fear a misfortune that the power of my alms is manifested.

Every misfortune is either a trial or a punishment, I think. In the first case my strength increases to such a degree that the trial which I dreaded finds me quite joyful, and I would be pained if it did not come upon me; I feel no longer its weight, but only its merit. In the second case, the punishment never comes… In the greater number of cases does not a fine imposed by a magistrate exempt from corporal punishment? It always does when imposed by God – I know it by experience.

Do you not fear too great expense?

But do you not fear too great expense? – Should I fear expense which procures me peace, cheerfulness, and resignation? What is the use of money, if it does not serve to make me happy?

Ah! if the happiness which I “buy” from God were sold in the shops instead of vanities and superfluities, would you reproach me with spending too much, if I bought it?

And, moreover, I have never felt so forcibly the truth of these words, until I began giving [properly and decently] to the needy: Alms-giving never makes one poor.

Perhaps my wants diminish, perhaps my desires are less ambitious – I do not know; but one thing is certain: I am never without money.

– From: Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, M.H. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889

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Posted by on May 12, 2016 in Words of Wisdom


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Homily of St Jerome on Matthew 15:1-20 [ Mark 7:1-13 ]

The foolishness of the Scribes and Pharisees is amazing. They rebuke the Son of God because he does not keep the precepts and traditions of men: “For your disciples,” they say, “wash not their hands when they eat bread.” It is the hands, that is, the works not of the body in itself, but of the soul, that are to be washed, that the word of God may be fulfilled in them. He answering said to them: “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God in deference to your tradition?” He refutes the false charge by a true answer: “While you neglect the commandments of God,” he says, “on account of the tradition of men, why do you think my disciples are to be rebuked because they attach little weight to the ordinances of the ancients, so that they may fulfil the statues of God?”

God’s are the statues of works of love 

For God said: “Honour thy father and mother”; and, “Let him who curses father and mother be put to death.” But you say: “Whosoever shall say to father and mother: ‘Any support you might have had from me is dedicated to God,’ does not have to honour his father or mother.” Honour in the Scriptures is not so much to be understood as greetings, as of almsdeeds and the offering of gifts. “Honour widows,” says the Apostle, “that are widows indeed.” By honour, here, is to be understood a gift. And in another place: “Priests are to be honoured with a double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine of God.” And by this command we are ordered not to muzzle the ox that treads out the corn, for the labourer is worthy of his hire.

The Lord has commanded that sons, out of consideration for the weakness or old age or the poverty of their parents, should honour them, even in supplying them with the necessities of life.

How the Pharisees and scribes changed God’s law of loving support of needy parents

But the Scribes and Pharisees sought to overrule this most prudent law of God, and to encourage impiety under the name of piety.

They taught undutiful sons that if they would vow to God, who is indeed their Father, the things that they should rightly bestow on their parents, the one oblation made to the Lord above the gifts supplied to parents. And indeed the parents themselves [said the Pharisees and Scribes], seeing that their gifts are dedicated to God, should refuse them lest they should incur the crime of sacrilege.

And so they are brought to suffer want. So it came about that the gifts offered by the sons in honour of God and to his temple went to the profit of the [Old Covenant Jewish priests instead of their needy parents.]

– St Jerome, Bk. 2, Commentary on Matthew, Ch. 15; from: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

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Posted by on March 9, 2016 in Words of Wisdom


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I know a person, passionately desirous of doing good, who used to apply a tenth of her alms to buy something which might be of service to souls.

Service to needy souls

Sometimes it was a little treatise on judgment, on the divine mercy, on the presence of God; sometimes, perhaps, a pious pamphlet or medal. For a shilling she often could buy a hundred of these trifles, which she selected in bright colours, red or blue… She let them fall, as if accidentally, along the road, so that they might be picked up by some child, young girl, or labourer returning from his work. Perhaps these few sentences, already heard at catechism, would awaken remorse or recall some forgotten resolution.

Pious seed

Oh! who can calculate what a holy harvest she has thus down? She never went on a journey without “forgetting” in the trains and diligences, those alms for souls! She never pretended to hear when anyone called after her to restore them.

She “lost” a great many of them by leaving them accidentally between the leaves of books borrowed by her, and in those which she lent.

She used them as wrappers when she had occasion to send parcels, and sometimes she gave a penny to some poor child to scatter them in public places.

A holy harvest

She never knew the good which sprung up from this pious seed, sown thus in some thousands of souls. Many grains were indeed trodden under foot, treated with contempt; but is it impossible to imagine that none of them took root?

Continue ceaselessly your labour, in silence and obscurity, industrious sower. God, who sees everything, God, who counts all your steps, writes it down in the book of life. May the publicity which I give to your zeal find you many imitators!

– From: Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889



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– Detachment from material things – charity – loving God and neighbour above everything else –

You cannot imagine the joy felt in depriving one’s self of some considerable amount of money or a cherished material object – an expensive garment, for example – in order to give it to a needy person.

It is like a link binding together that poor person and ourselves, and making us a sharer in all his prayers and in all his meritorious acts. It seems as though God could not think of him without thinking of us, and as though He could not love him without loving us also.

Besides, God always sends into the heart some little joy, to take the place of the material object of which we deprive ourselves for the poor.

– From: Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889


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One of the greatest punishments which God can inflict upon a soul is to take from it “the means of doing good.” This punishment God inflicts “for a time” in His mercy on those from whom much can be expected and who are not faithful. To-day, for example, you have not encountered a single destitute one in your path. It was God who prevented them from appearing.

It was God who prevented them from appearing

You felt moved at the sight of a mendicant who appealed to you, but found that you had not a single piece of money. It was God who had caused you to forget the money which you wished to give.

Search your heart; “perhaps to-day you were not worthy to give alms.”

These words may bring a smile, perhaps, even on the lips of pious people, but the profoundly Catholic souls to whom I address myself will understand me. The giving of alms is a grace which the good God does not bestow on everyone.

The giving of alms is a grace which the good God does not bestow on everyone

Your entire day passes without your having found an occasion to render even the most trifling service, without your being able to visit the Blessed Sacrament for even a few minutes’ meditation, without your having thought of praying for anyone…

It was God who left you an entirely useless day – what a void!

It was God who left you an entirely useless day, as a corrective punishment perhaps, for having yesterday abandoned your heart too much to creatures.

What a void in a life is a day without devotion, without some special prayer, without some charitable action for God’s sake!

To have no one to make happy – what a nightmare!

God also inflicts this punishment, and, alas! for a long period, upon those who in their youth have wasted in vague reveries the affection which filled their hearts.

Poor souls, what an expiation is this!

To have no one to make happy – no aged father to care for, no true friend to share our affection or our riches, no afflicted person to console, no child or ignorant person to instruct, no blessing to ask of heaven for one dearer to us than ourselves…

To have nothing but self… always self… the only object of our thoughts, of our efforts, of our labours – how hard, how sad is this!

To have nothing but self, always self, self… how sad is this!

“Charity flies from me,” said the good man who was bitterly expiating a youth passed far from God. “Charity flies from me. I feel the desire of giving, of devoting myself, but I cannot; I do not know how; I hesitate; I try, but I am unkind, and give ungraciously… The good God wishes nothing of me. Oh! how great is this punishment!”

Oh! my God, punish me in some other way, but leave me some one to whom I may devote myself. I do not ask from thee that I may be loved, but only that I may have the power of loving. I do not ask that my devotion may be known, but only that I may have the grace of devoting myself. As long as I can devote myself to others it will seem, at least, that thou hast not entirely abandoned me.

– From: Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin 1889



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(Week 28 of the year: Tuesday)


Jesus had just finished speaking when a Pharisee invited him to dine at his house. He went and sat down at the table. The Pharisee saw this and was surprised that he had not first washed before the meal.

But the Lord said to him, “Oh, you Pharisees! You clean the outside of cup and plate, while inside yourselves you are filled with extortion and wickedness. Fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside too? Instead, give alms from what you have and then indeed everything will be clean for you.”

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


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God, heavenly Father, look upon me and hear my prayer during this holy season of Lent. By the good works You inspire, help me to discipline my body and to be renewed in spirit.

Without You I can do nothing. By Your Spirit help me to know what is right and to be eager in doing Your will. Teach me to find new life through penance. Keep me from sin, and help me live by Your commandment of love.

God of love, bring me back to You. Send Your Spirit to make me strong in faith and active in good works. May my acts of penance bring me Your forgiveness, open my heart to Your love, and prepare me for the coming feast of the Resurrection of Jesus.

Lord, during this Lenten Season, nourish me with Your Word of life and make me one with You in love and prayer. Fill my heart with Your love and keep me faithful to the Gospel of Christ. Give me the grace to rise above my human weakness. Give me new life by Your Sacraments, especially the Mass.

Father, our source of life, I reach out with joy to grasp Your hand; let me walk more readily in Your ways. Guide me in Your gentle mercy, for left to myself I cannot do Your Will.

Father of love, source of all blessings, help me to pass from my old life of sin to the new life of grace. Prepare me for the glory of Your Kingdom. I ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


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